Austrian company Schiebel, in collaboration with Thales, has tested the capabilities of its Camcopter S-100 uncrewed aerial system (UAS) to relay acoustic buoy surveillance.  

The UAS was tested during Nato’s recent exercise Robotic Experimentation and Prototyping using Maritime Uncrewed Systems 2022 (REPMUS-22).

Led by the Portuguese Navy, REPMUS-22 was conducted in Portugal’s Troia Peninsula region.

REPMUS22 saw the participation of as many as 25 navies, around 20 research and development companies, two universities and eight other Nato entities.

The exercise involved both companies working under a pre-determined scenario that was chosen by Nato.

The UAS was required to safeguard a strategic port and monitor an enemy submarine from reaching it.

Under this scenario, the two companies deployed a Camcopter UAS, equipped with a relay box, a Wescam MX-8 electro-optical/infrared sensor and Thales’ BlueScan data relay sensor.

The relay system was primarily responsible for monitoring the data transmission process from sonobuoys and sending this data to the command cell deployed ashore.

This ensured the detection and classification of any potential enemy submarines.

The next step included the successful data processing on the land by using Thales’ Bluetracker sonobuoy processing system.

According to Thales, the other alternative for processing this data was by deploying a frigate cruising off the coast combined with an aerial vehicle such as a maritime patrol aircraft or a helicopter.

Deployment of an uncrewed aircraft allowed the participant naval forces to experience new challenges in a situation that involved limited human resources.

The test validated Camcopter S-100 UAS’ capabilities to be deployed as an anti-submarine warfare system.

During the same exercise, Airbus also tested a sub-scale prototype of its new ‘cargo copter’ UAS.